Houlihan Lokey PE group hires new co-head in London

The Los Angeles-based investment bank is continuing to expand in Europe, hiring Johnny Colville to co-lead the team advising UK private equity clients.

Investment bank Houlihan Lokey is continuing to expand in Europe, hiring Johnny Colville from HSBC to co-lead its financial sponsors group in London alongside managing director Florus Plantenga.

“At a time of significant opportunity across Europe, financial sponsor clients represent a critical market segment for the firm,” Colville said in a statement.

“I’m excited to continue the build out of the European franchise, delivering Houlihan Lokey’s geographic reach and exceptional services in M&A, capital raising, financial restructuring and valuations to our sponsor clients.”

Colville, who is joining Houlihan Lokey as a managing director, will be primarily responsible for advising the investment bank’s UK-based private equity clients. He was previously a managing director in the financial sponsors group at HSBC covering the UK, and before that, he was with Deutsche Bank’s European financial sponsors group. He has spent nearly twenty years in investment banking, having started at Baring Brothers.

“Johnny has a distinguished track record of advising clients in the UK and Europe on a wide range of transactions, and his expertise and relationships will be tremendously beneficial to both our clients and the growth of our business. We’re delighted that he has joined the firm,” John Mavredakis, global head of the financial sponsors group, said in a statement.

With Colville’s appointment, Houlihan Lokey now has 19 senior officers across Europe and the U.S.

“As the benefits of a pure-play investment bank – as opposed to a universal bank – become more apparent to our clients, we have also grown our European footprint enormously in the past 18 months, adding offices in Amsterdam, Rome, and Milan, and expanding those in London, Paris, Madrid, and Frankfurt,” said Justin Abelow, managing director in Houlihan Lokey’s financial sponsors group in New York.

In addition, Houlihan Lokey has added “significant industry capability in consumer, food, retail, business services, and industrials”, Abelow said.

“We have enhanced product capabilities in mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, financing, and illiquid asset advisory. We anticipate that all of these will be growth areas for us – and for our private equity clients – over the coming months and years.”

According to the bank, its financial sponsors team worked on more than 800 private equity-related engagements with 500 sponsors in 2015, and is in active dialogue with more than 400 private equity firms and 100 family offices worldwide.

In the last two months, Houlihan Lokey has been bolstering its team in Europe, adding Zaman Khan and Christian Scharf to the illiquid financial assets practice, and appointing Rothschild veteran Paul Simpson to lead the business services group. According to Thomson Reuters, Houlihan Lokey tops the M&A advisor rankings for all US transactions.

In the last year, Houlihan Lokey acquired UK-based McQueen Limited, which provides independent corporate finance advice to clients in the global consumer sector, and the investment banking operations of Leonardo & Co. NV in Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain.